Gordhan, allies declare war on protector
Johannesburg - Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan and former SA Revenue Service (Sars) head Oupa Magashula have assembled a team of advocates to challenge the public protector’s adverse ruling against them.
Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane on Friday tabled a report in which she directed President Cyril Ramaphosa to take disciplinary action against Gordhan for granting former Sars deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay early retirement in August 2010.
Now, Gordhan, Magashula and Pillay have jointly galvanised their legal teams to review the report in the high court this week.
On Sunday, Magashula told Independent Media that they were provisionally set to meet their respective senior counsels tomorrow.
He said the meeting was to “get a clear picture of their perspective for a basis for a review application”.
“We're meeting with our senior counsels on Tuesday. The intention is to launch a comprehensive application against the ruling of the public protector,” he said.
Magashula was adamant that their urgent application will be filed before the end of the week despite the fact that they have 30 days to file their papers on an urgent basis in the high court.
He did not divulge the names of their legal eagles but said he was prepared to take time off his bereavement to meet them. Magashula lost his brother Kagiso on Friday while watching Mkhwebane announce her findings on TV.
“I was watching her on TV addressing the media on our matter when my sister called me and informed me about the death of our brother. He had been ill for some time,” Magashula said.
However, he was reluctant to divulge any further details of their intended legal fight.
Both Gordhan and Magashula have questioned Mkhwebane’s decision to investigate a matter that happened in 2010, saying Mkhwebane was supposed to furnish them with “special circumstances” justifying her probe.
In his supplementary affidavit on Wednesday, Gordhan wrote to Mkhwebane saying: “Section 6 (9) of the Public Protector Act provides that you may not entertain a complaint more than two years after the event, except where, in special circumstances, you exercise your discretion to do so.”
He said Mkhwebane’s provisional report sent to him on April 30 mentioned only “generic circumstances that may be taken into account and a few facts peculiar to this case”.
“Will you please clearly specify the ‘special circumstances’ that justified your decision to entertain an old complaint; and the reasons why you exercised your discretion to do so,” Gordhan wrote.
Gordhan, Magashula and Pillay were expected to file papers in the high court arguing that Mkhwebane ignored all their legal submissions, including expert opinions, in reaching her findings on the three.
They were also set to argue in court that other law enforcement agencies, such as the Hawks and the Nugent Commission, had found nothing illegal in the pension payout to Pillay.